OPEN TRADE: Monday, 11/24/2014
- BUY CALL: $345.00…$1.02 suggested premium
- SELL CALL: $342.00…$1.30 suggested premium
- BUY PUT: $320.00…$0.85 suggested premium
- SELL PUT: $322.50…$1.12 suggested premium
CLOSE TRADE: Friday, 11/28/2014
NOTE: THANKSGIVING, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2014
The Holidays are here and Consumers are now faced with a dizzying array of choices for their TV viewing. The advancement from network television to hundreds of cable options has given way to Internet programming with a variety of devices to connect viewers to their favorite shows. Amazon.com, Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN), Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) all have choices for your entertainment system this holiday season. Here’s our look at all the major players in this holiday space.
Amazon Fire TV is a digital media player that allows you to stream audio and video content to your high-definition TV. The device was designed to provide top-quality streaming for Amazon users, but it also doubles as a gaming system. The small boxlike device arrives pre-registered to your Amazon account and is easy to set up. It connects to your TV using HDMI and with a wall outlet charger. Some may not enjoy the media content being in front, with a few optimized games that are harder to access. The free space on the unit is only 5.16GB, limiting the number of games that the user can install on the device. Among the advantages of the device is the limited number of control buttons and voice search capability that generally works flawlessly. Other features include choice prediction, IMBD second-screen and an easy photo-viewing option. However, it does not offer the popular HBO Go feature that other devices have already incorporated into their products. The device is also pricier than other devices, at around $100 with game controller. Add in the annual $99 price for Prime, and it’s the most expensive of the devices.
Fire TV Streaming Stick
The recently released streaming stick is priced at $40 and works as advertised, doing nearly everything the full-sized Fire TV can do. If you are frustrated by a little bit of lag or want to play more then the simplest games the Fire TV has to offer then stick to the Fire TV. The Fire TV stick provides a nice light-weight alternative that can play simple games and does basically everything the bigger device does. This device also needs a Prime subscription to be useful and the voice control controller is sold separately.
The Roku media device has become a familiar part of many American households since its introduction 12 years ago. The Roku is the easy option for a person not bought into any ecosystem and offers a variety of content and access to content. The device supports 750 channels and streams 94 movie and TV channels-including Netflix, Amazon Plus, Hulu Plus and Vudu, as well as HBO Go. Not the simplest device to hook up, you must first plug it in, connect to the TV’s HDMI and go through a 3-step process. A download and restart is necessary. Roku offers an effective search capability that makes it easy to find your favorite programs. Its Wifi connection system is one of the best among the various devices. Although it does not support full gaming, it does provide more than 60 games. A microSD card slot allows for increased storage, when needed. The $50 to $99 price tag makes it favorite with price-conscious entertainment consumers.
Roku Streaming Stick
Roku also offers a dongle type-streaming stick device which provides all the same function of roughly the Roku 2 and hides behind the TV quite nicely. The device like the Fire TV streaming stick version does lag more then the full sized device but it is attractively priced at around $49.
The Apple TV device was designed to appeal to those who are already heavily invested, either emotionally or financially, in the Apple ecosystem and want a unit that will integrate media streaming onto all devices. Many people like the slim, minimalist design of the device, and access to all the movies and shows available through the iTunes site is another plus for some users. However, Apple TV offers slightly over 30 channels, much fewer than the Roku and Chromecast. The absence of Hulu Plus may be a deal breaker for some users. The device is small and easier to hook up than a Roku unit. Simply enter your language and Wifi information. The menu system is easier to navigate to than past versions. Integration with iPhone and iPad are seamless. The presence of Airplay is very enticing to those with many Apple Devices. At $100, it gives you less than some devices, but what it does do, in true Apple style is done well and it is very simple to use.
For a media-streaming device on the lower end of the price scale, Google’s Chromecast dongle offers a number of advantages. The device plugs into the TV’s HDMI port and includes a USB cable for the other end of the stick. It also includes a USB adaptor. The set-up app that you can download will allow you to set up the unit and start streaming in less than two minutes. It also allows you to switch easily from watching on one device to another. The device offers Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, Pandora, Songza and a number of other services. Chromecast’s performance can be limited by your Wifi network’s capability. Although the Chromecast device does not offer all the capabilities of other units, at about $35, it provides the most compact unit for basic streaming.
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